What is Espresso?

espressoEspresso is the coffee beverage produced by a pump or lever espresso machine. This Italian word describes a beverage made from 7 grams (+/- 2 grams) of finely ground coffee, producing 1-1.5 ounces (30-45ml) of extracted beverage under 9 bar (135psi) of brewing pressure at brewing temperatures of between 194 and 204 degrees Fahrenheit, over a period of 25 seconds (+/- 5 seconds) of brew time.

Espresso or Expresso?

drink espresso

I’ve been to many a coffee shop, and while waiting in line, I can nearly guarantee that I’ll witness the hipster barista, “correcting” the little old lady that wants to add expresso to her coffee. Quickly, let’s look at the root of the phrase and we can know for certain that the barista needs to give a few people in line an extra something to justify their need to correct an old lady. We all know the lady just wants to get her fix. Unfortunately she probably hasn’t tasted America’s Best Espresso. Just ask, she’ll let you know.

A debate over a coffee pronunciation?

There is a debate over whether the spelling expresso is incorrect or whether it is an acceptable variant. Oxford Dictionaries states “The spelling “expresso” is not used in the original Italian and is strictly incorrect, although  the Oxford English Dictionary Merriam-Webster and the Online Etymology Dictionary call “expresso” a variant spelling of the word. 

Pavoni Espresso Machine

A Beautiful Pavoni Espresso Machine

The words express, expres and espresso each have several meanings in English, French and Italian. The first meaning is to do with the idea of “expressing” or squeezing the flavor from the coffee using the pressure of the steam. The second meaning is to do with speed, as in a train.

Finally there is the notion of doing something “expressly” for a person … The first Bezzera and Pavoni espresso machines in 1906 took 45 seconds to make a cup of coffee, one at a time, expressly for you. Yeah, I get it.

Is there something called an Espresso Roast?

Espresso is both a coffee beverage and a brewing method. It is not a specific bean, bean blend, or roast level. Any bean or roasting level can be used to produce authentic espresso. For example, in southern Italy, a darker roast is generally preferred. I use Moor as what could be considered an Espresso Roast. Farther north, the trend moves toward slightly lighter roasts, while outside Italy, a wide range is popular. That’s more like the Kenya AA or the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe that I use for espresso in the store.